PAST GLORY: Matt Gray and Taylor Worth after winning teams gold for Australia at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Worth beat Gray for the discretionary place on Australia’s team for the Rio Olympics. Picture: Getty Images
THREE-time Olympic archerMatt Gray will delaya decision on his future in the sport after missing Rio Games selection.
The 42-year-old father-of-three from Boat Harbour was in a battle with 2012 Olympian Taylor Worth,Alec PottsandRyan Tyack for three places in the male archery team.Potts and Tyack, who will make their Olympic debut in Rio, won the two automatic spots with their results andWorth gained the discretionary place.
Gray, who competed at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics, said he was disappointed “butit is what it is’’. It was the first time a discretionary place was part of the process.
“I had avenues to appeal, but it’s only going to waste a lot of time and energy, so I’ve accepted their decision,” Gray said.“You accept the criteria at the beginning so I don’t think it’s fair on the other guys. You’ve just got to cop it on the chin.”As for retirement, he said: “I don’t know. I will continue to train. I’m still the reserve so I’ve got to be ready just in case something happens. Then I’ll assess it later on.”
Gray said two defeats in matchplay, one of which wason a countback,at the final selection event the weekend before lastproved the difference.
“At the end of the dayin the selection, the difference was 0.35 in the criteria,” he said.
“It was anybody’s spot really. I shot a lot better than him in China and in the first day of the last selection. Then I lost on a countback in one of the shoots, and that result was probably a turning point.
“That was worth 0.2, then in another matchplay serieswe had a one-hour shoot-off after a tie. I lost my match and he won his. That was worth 0.15, and that was the difference.”
The Port Stephens water policeman was philosophical about the omission andwished the three selected archers all the best in Rio.
“I did my best and gave it everything I had,” he said.
“I work full-time, I’ve gotthree kids and minimal financial support.
“At the end of the day, it’s sport. You’ve got to put everything in perspective. I’ve got a family to support and this means I get to spend more time with them.
“I wasn’t expected to make the team, I don’t think, given my age and I received no financial support. The other three were well supportedthrough the Winning Edge program. It doesn’t really accommodate for the older blokes.”
Potts shot an Australian record overseas score when third in qualifying at the Shanghai World Cup this year, Tyack is the 2014 world indoor champion and Worth, who was ninth at the London Olympics, was also ninth at the 2015 world championships.
They combined to finish eighth in the team event at the 2015 world Championships andsecure Australia three men’s spots for Rio.The three Australians will contest the team and individual events.
The one women’s representative was not named on Tuesday becauseof an appeal against a non-nomination.